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Support for energy price rises – the council tax rebate

The government has announced the following measures to help households with rising energy costs.  For full details please see the government’s factsheet.

The schemes administered by the council are detailed below – you can also read the full eligibility criteria.

Please note, these schemes are not related to the £400 Energy Bill Discount – for details on that, please contact your energy provider. 

You can find details about other support available on our Cost of living crisis – information and support page.

1. New – discretionary energy rebate support scheme

Part A

  • Households in council tax bands E to H in receipt of council tax support will receive a single one-off payment of up to £178.
  • Households in council tax bands A to D in receipt of council tax support, who should have already received the Mandatory £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate (see item 2. below), will receive a single ‘top up’ payment of up to £28.

To be eligible for this payment households must have been resident in the property on 1 April 2022. 

Here’s how we will make these payments:

If you pay your council tax by direct debit (all council tax bands)

Payments to qualifying direct debit households were made directly into their bank account on 12 August 2022 and a letter was issued to households to confirm so please check your bank account.

If you are in council tax bands A-D but you are not on direct debit –

If you have already received your Mandatory £150 Council Tax Rebate into your bank, we have paid your £28 top-up using the same bank account details. 

Payments to qualifying households were made on 12 August 2022 and a letter was issued to households to confirm so please check your bank account.

If your mandatory energy rebate was deducted from your council tax account then we will also take the top-up off your council tax bill at a later date (no later than 28 September 2022).  We will then issue you with a revised council tax bill. 

If this places your council tax account into credit you will receive a refund request form with the revised bill which you will need to complete to claim a refund.

If you are in council tax bands E-H but you do not pay your council tax by direct debit, or if you are on direct debit but fail the validation checks – 

It will take longer to pay the pay the £178 discretionary energy rebate to you as you will need to confirm your bank details. 

Letters were issued on 18 August 2022 to all eligible households with details of how to apply for the discretionary energy rebate. 

Applications for this discretionary energy rebate have now closed.

All applications will be subject to the required verification checks will take some time to complete. 

Any household who hasn’t provided their details, or whose details we are not able to validate, will instead have the £178 taken off their council tax bill. If this places your council tax account into credit you will receive a refund request form with the revised bill which you will need to complete to claim a refund.

It is not possible for us to refund any credit without a completed refund request form, even if you completed an energy rebate application form.  This is because your application failed the validation checks and we are required to keep a full audit trail to ensure the money is paid to the correct household to prevent fraudulent claims.

Everyone who is eligible to receive this support will receive the money by 28 September 2022.

To help ensure we can carry out this work as quickly as possible, please do not contact us to chase the ‘rebate’ payment.

Part B

If your household is struggling to pay your energy bills and you have not received an energy rebate payment via the mandatory scheme and you are NOT in receipt of Council Tax Support (meaning you do not qualify for part A of the discretionary scheme), you may still be eligible for a one-off payment if you are on a means tested benefit.

To be eligible for this payment households must have been resident in the property on 1 April 2022. 

If successful, payments will be made in line with the mandatory scheme  and part A of the discretionary scheme.  Payments will be dependent on funds being available after  part A of the discretionary scheme have been made.

Applications for this discretionary energy rebate have now closed.

All applications will be subject to the required verification checks before payment, and this will take some time to complete.  If your application fails, the validation checks then any payment will be made onto your council tax account and a revised bill issued.  If your council tax account goes into credit you will be able to request a council tax refund.

Everyone who is eligible to receive this support will receive the money by 28 September 2022.

2. The mandatory £150 Council Tax Energy Rebate

The £150 ‘rebate’ is available to most households in England whose primary residence is valued in council tax bands A to D. We have now paid this money to all eligible households.

All households that passed our verification checks will have received the £150 payment directly into bank account – this may be listed as ‘Bank Giro Credit’.

Any household that didn’t pass our checks will instead have had £150 deducted from their council tax bill and you should have received a letter confirming this, along with a revised bill. If this placed your council tax account in credit, please complete the refund request form sent with the revised bill to claim your credit. 

Please note, due to the numbers involved, the refund request will be dealt with as quickly as possible but there may be an unavoidable delay.

It is not possible for us to refund any credit without a completed refund request form, even if you completed an energy rebate application form.  This is because your application failed the validation checks and we are required to keep a full audit trail to ensure the money is paid to the correct household to prevent fraudulent claims.

If you are not sure whether your house is in council tax bands A-D, you can find this information on your latest council tax bill or on the Valuation Office website.

Please see the government’s full eligibility criteria for the scheme. Please note, second homes and empty properties are not eligible for this payment.

Scam warning

Please be aware that we would never cold call you to ask for your personal bank details over the phone. If you receive such a call, hang up and report it.

If you think you have provided personal details to someone, you are advised to call the Police immediately on 101 and report the matter as an identity theft. The Police are also directing people to the Action Fraud helpline on 0300 123 2040.

Further information

If you are struggling to pay your council tax bill please visit southoxon.gov.uk/counciltax to find out about the support available or call 0345 302 2313.

For advice if you are struggling to pay other bills please visit Citizens Advice website – citizensadvice.org.uk.

Notice from the Valuation Office Agency (VOA)

Following the Chancellor’s announcement on 3 February 2022 regarding support for energy bills, the VOA have received an increased number of requests on how to check and review a dwelling’s banding.

If any resident wants to request a review of their council tax band, they will need to explain why they believe their band is incorrect and provide supporting evidence. The VOA has issued guidance for further information.

The VOA also recently published an article for residents setting out the circumstances in which the VOA will undertake a band review and the evidence customers need to provide.